Florida lawmakers approve trimming vehicle fees

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/26/2014

A bill overwhelmingly approved by Florida state lawmakers would save truckers and other drivers a few bucks as early as this fall when paying vehicle license fees.

Spurred by Gov. Rick Scott’s “It’s Your Money” tax relief plan, SB156 would save the state’s heaviest vehicles about $25 on registrations.

The bill would eventually trim about $400 million from the fees and surcharges applied to license plate purchases, replacement or transfers and vehicle registration. The reductions are slated to take effect Sept. 1, 2014.

“This tax cut will let families keep nearly $400 million of their hard-earned money in their own pockets,” Scott said in prepared remarks.

The fee increases were implemented in 2009 to help close a state budget shortfall.

As the state government anticipates more than $800 million in surplus revenues in the next year, Gov. Rick Scott is advocating for $500 million in tax and fee cuts in the months leading up to his re-election bid.

Specifically, the bill would benefit truckers and motorists by reducing the fee for issuance of original, duplicate or transfer license plates, or transfer or duplicate registration certificates from $5 to $2.50. The service charge that is applied when using an automated vending facility or printer dispenser machine to issue a license plate sticker would be trimmed from $3 to $1. Also, motor vehicle registrations or registration renewal license plates and validation stickers for retroflection material would be reduced from $1.50 to 50 cents.

The surcharge on the license tax would be reduced from $4 to $2. The juvenile programs surcharge on the license tax would also be reduced from $5.50 to $1.

The Senate voted unanimously to endorse the bill. House lawmakers followed suit on a 116-0 vote.

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